Person—given name, text X[X(39)]

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Data Element
Short name:Given name
Synonymous names:First name; Forename; Christian name; Middle name; Second name; Other given name
METeOR identifier:613340
Registration status:Health, Standard 05/10/2016
Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 27/06/2017
Indigenous, Final 30/05/2018
ACT Health, Final 02/01/2019

The person's identifying name(s) within the family group or by which the person is socially identified, as represented by text.

Data Element Concept:Person—given name

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Representation class:Text
Data type:String
Maximum character length:40

Data element attributes

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:

A person's given name can be:

  • assigned by a person's parents shortly after birth or adoption or other cultural ceremony
  • acquired by a person in accordance with a due process defined in a state or territory Act relating to the registration of births, deaths, marriages and changes of name and sex, and for related purposes
  • attained by a person within the family group or by which that person is socially identified.

The agency or establishment should record all of the person's given name(s) on their information systems.

Collection methods:

There are no universal verification rules for a person's given name.

Given name(s) should be recorded in the format preferred by the person. The format should be the same as that indicated by the person (for example, written on a form) or in the same format as that printed on an identification card (for example, on a Medicare card) to ensure consistent collection of name data.

The following format may assist with data collection:

What is the given name you would like to be known by?


Are you known by any other given names that you would like recorded?

If so, what are they?


Whenever a person informs the agency or establishment of a change of given name (for example, prefers to be known by their middle name), the former name should be recorded according to the appropriate name usage type. Do not delete or overwrite a previous given name. For example 'Mary Georgina Smith' informs the hospital that she prefers to be known as 'Georgina'. Record 'Georgina' as her preferred given name and record 'Mary Georgina Smith' as the registered name.

Multiple given names:

All of the person's given names should be recorded, with each given name being recorded against the relevant Given name sequence number.

Registering an unidentified client:

If the person's given name is not known, the name used to identify that person shall not include a given name, that is the 'Given name' field shall be left blank. When the person's name becomes known, the actual name should be added as a complete full name. The previous name should be retained without a given name.

Use of first initial:

If the person's first given name is not known, but the first letter (initial) of the given name is known, record the first letter in the registered 'Given name' field. Do not record a full stop following the initial.

Persons with only a single name:

Some people do not have a family name and a given name: they have only a single name by which they are known. If the person has only a single name, record it in the 'Family name' field and leave the 'Given name' field blank.

Shortened or alternate first given name:

If the person uses a shortened version or an alternate version of their given name, the person shall have two names recorded. These being the full name and the name with the shorter version.

The individual will need to identify which name is to be used for registered or reporting purposes and which is the name by which that individual prefers to be known.

Example 1: The person’s given name is Jennifer, but she prefers to be called Jenny. Both Jennifer and Jenny shall be recorded as given names, with Jenny recorded as the preferred name.

Example 2: The person’s given name is ‘Giovanni’, and this is their legal name. However, the person prefers to be called ‘John’. ‘John’ shall be recorded as the preferred name with a name usage type of Other name (alias), and ‘Giovanni’ as the Reporting name.


If special characters (for example hyphens, umlauts or commas) form part of the given name they should be included without spaces. For example, hyphenated names such as Anne-Maree should be entered without a space before or after the hyphen, that is do not leave a space between the last letter of 'Anne' and the hyphen, or between the hyphen and the first letter of 'Maree'.


If the person has recorded their given name as more than one word, displaying spaces in between the words, each word is considered to be an additional given name, for example, Jean Claude Marcel Moreaux. That is Jean is one given name, Claude is another given name and Marcel is another given name.

Names not for continued use:

For cultural reasons, a person such as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may advise that they are no longer using the given name they had previously registered and are now using an alternative current name. Record the current name as the Registered name (and as the preferred given name) and the previously used given name as an Other name (alias) (with a Name conditional use flag of 'Name not to be used.')

Composite name:

If a person identifies their first name as being a composite word, both parts should be recorded under the first given name (rather than the first and second given name). For example, if ‘Anne Marie Walker’ notes her preferred given name to be ‘Anne Marie’, then ‘Anne Marie’ is recorded as the first given name, and the second given name is left blank.

Registering an unnamed newborn baby:

An unnamed newborn baby is to be registered using the mother's given name in conjunction with the prefix 'Baby of'. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is Fiona, then record 'Baby of Fiona' in the preferred 'Given name' field for the baby. This name is recorded under the Newborn name usage type. If a name is subsequently given, record the new name as the preferred given name and retain the newborn name.

Registering unnamed multiple births:

An unnamed (newborn) baby from a multiple birth should use their mother's given name plus a reference to the multiple births. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is 'Fiona' and a set of twins is to be registered, then record 'Twin 1 of Fiona' in the 'Given name' field for the first born baby, and 'Twin 2 of Fiona' in the 'Given name' field of the second born baby. Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 ...) are used, not Roman numerals (I, II, III ...).

In the case of triplets or other multiple births the same logic applies. The following terms should be used for recording multiple births:

  • Twin: use Twin; for example, Twin 1 of Fiona
  • Triplet: use Trip; for example, Trip 1 of Fiona
  • Quadruplet: use Quad; for example, Quad 1 of Fiona
  • Quintuplet: use Quin; for example, Quin 1 of Fiona
  • Sextuplet: use Sext; for example, Sext 1 of Fiona
  • Septuplet: use Sept; for example, Sept 1 of Fiona.

These names should be recorded with a name usage type of Newborn name. When the babies are named, the actual names should be recorded as the preferred name. The newborn name is retained.

Ethnic Names:

A useful resource when capturing ethnic names is the referenced Naming Systems of Ethnic Groups produced by Centrelink, Canberra, AGPS.

Misspelled given names:

If the person's given name has been misspelled, update the given name field with the correct spelling and record the misspelled given name as Other name (alias) in the name usage type (with a Name conditional use flag of 'Unreliable information.') Recording misspelled names is important for filing documents that may be issued with previous versions of the client's name. Discretion should be used regarding the degree of recording that is maintained.


Often people use a variety of names, including legal names, married/maiden names, nicknames, assumed names, traditional names and so forth. Even small differences in recording—such as the difference between Thomas and Tom—can make record linkage impossible.

To minimise discrepancies in the recording and reporting of name information, agencies or establishments should ask the person for their full (formal) Given name and Family name. These may be different from the name that the person may prefer the agency or establishment workers to use in personal dealings. Agencies or establishments may choose to separately record the preferred name that the person wishes to be used by agency or establishment workers.

In some cultures it is traditional to state the family name first. To overcome discrepancies in recording/reporting that may arise as a result of this practice, agencies or establishments should always ask the person to specify their first given name and their family or surname separately. These should then be recorded as Given name and Family name as appropriate, regardless of the order in which they may be traditionally given.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Reference documents:

Centrelink 2000. Naming systems of ethnic groups: a guide. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.

Standards Australia 2014. AS 4846:2014 Person and provider identification in healthcare. Sydney: Standards Australia.

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:

Supersedes Person (name)—given name, text X[X(39)] Housing assistance, Standard 20/06/2005, Health, Superseded 05/10/2016, Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 01/09/2016, Community Services (retired), Superseded 06/02/2012

See also Person—family name, text X[X(39)] Health, Standard 05/10/2016, Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 27/06/2017, Indigenous, Final 30/05/2018, ACT Health, Final 02/01/2019

See also Person—given name sequence number, code N[N] Health, Standard 05/10/2016

See also Person—name usage type end date, DDMMYYYY Health, Not progressed 28/07/2016, Disability, Standard 13/08/2015, Community Services (retired), Standard 06/02/2012

See also Person—name usage type start date, DDMMYYYY Health, Not progressed 28/07/2016, Disability, Standard 13/08/2015, Community Services (retired), Standard 06/02/2012

See also Person—name usage type, code X Health, Standard 05/10/2016

See also Person—preferred name indicator, yes/no code X Health, Standard 05/10/2016

Implementation in Data Set Specifications:
All attributes +

Individual name cluster Health, Standard 05/10/2016

DSS specific attributes +

Name cluster (Tasmania) - 2017 Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 27/06/2017

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2018–19 Health, Superseded 12/12/2018

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2019–20 Health, Superseded 16/01/2020

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2020–21 Health, Superseded 05/02/2021

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2021–22 Health, Standard 05/02/2021

DSS specific attributes +

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2022–23 Health, Standardisation pending 22/10/2021

DSS specific attributes +